Cyclone Idai: Zimbabwe school hit by landslide

Floods in MalawiImage copyright

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Malawi has also been hit by the floods

Two boarding school pupils are among 31 people to have been killed in eastern Zimbabwe by Cyclone Idai.

They were asleep in their dormitory when rocks swept down a mountain and knocked over a wall, officials say.

A further three people are missing after a bus was washed away when the driver tried to cross a flooded river.

The tropical storm cut off power and communications in Manicaland province, along the border with Mozambique, where about 21 people have died.

The cyclone made landfall in Mozambique on Thursday, with winds of up to 177km/h (106 mph). It cut off more than 500,000 residents in the port city of Beira, one the country’s largest cities. Roads were flooded and the airport was shut down.

Rains and flooding ahead of the storm’s arrival had left about more than 120 people dead in Mozambique and Malawi.

Marooned on a mountain

In Zimbabwe, a state of emergency has been declared in affected areas after homes and bridges were washed away by the floodwaters.

A further 71 people are said to be missing and the death toll is expected to rise when the floodwaters subside.

The Charles Lwanga Secondary School in the mountainous district of Chimanimani has been closed and the army has been deployed to evacuate the 200 trapped pupils, according to the Department of Civil Protection.

More than 100 houses have been damaged in the town of Chimanimani, which was cut off on Saturday, according to Zimbabwe’s information ministry.

MP’s wife climbed a tree

The police have urged drivers not to try to cross flooded rivers in the region.

Nine people who escaped from the bus which was swept away near the Skyline Area are said to be marooned on a nearby mountain.

Many others have also sought shelter on mountainsides but high winds have made it difficult for helicopters to reach them.

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Military helicopters have been used to deliver aid in Malawi

The wife of Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi only survived by climbing a tree, he told the Standard newspaper.

“I am going back to my constituency, my wife survived the cyclone after climbing a tree and my house was also damaged at our farm and this is where my wife was at the time.”

The storm is moving further west and has ripped roofs off prison cells in the southern city of Masvingo, according to state broadcaster ZBC.